BASING the Get Jerky Rally North Wales in Welshpool last Saturday has been declared a huge success by the organiser and sponsor, after the event attracted thousands of spectators to the town and surrounding area.
Organised by Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire Car Club, the event took on a distinctly fresh look thanks to a new partnership with Welshpool-based Trailhead Fine Foods and the company’s high protein Get Jerky brand of Welsh Beef jerky snacks.
Moving from its traditional base in Dolgellau, the popular motorsport event started and finished in Welshpool town centre, where a large crowd gathered. The rally base was on the town outskirts, at Welshpool Livestock Market.
Guy Weaver, Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire Car Club chairman, said: “Welshpool has a great heritage in motorsport and Rally North Wales has used the town as its base many times before over the decades,” he said.
“With the continued growth and development of the event, which has attracted competitors from across the world, we had been looking for a new home for the rally which, in recent times, had been based wholly in Dolgellau.
“Thanks to the fantastic support from Welshpool Town Council, Mayor Cllr Alison Davies and our sponsors, Get Jerky, the Broad Street start and finish ceremonies were a huge hit with the fans and competitors.
“Everyone I’ve spoken to has truly embraced the event and its ethos and I’m very proud to see the event run to such high acclaim. We look forward to seeing what next year brings.”
Arwyn Watkins, OBE, managing director of Trailhead Fine Foods, shared Mr Weaver’s delight and enthusiasm. “It was a brilliant event for Welshpool and the whole community,” he said. “Everything about the rally was positive.
“This is just the start in terms of what we can build on for next year. The rally attracted spectators from all over the country, including five people from Margate who had travelled up for the day.”
The rally was won for the third time in a row by Matthew Hirst and Declan Dear whose Ford Fiesta R5 was more than two minutes ahead of their nearest rival. Hirst set the fastest time on all but one of the eight tricky forest stages to dominate the event and kick off his defence of the Welsh Rally Championship title in fine style.
“Considering the competition out there today, I think a win by two minutes is quite good and very encouraging for the season,” said a delighted Hirst. “Hopefully we can keep going through the rest of the year like this.”
Northern Ireland’s Alan Carmichael took runner-up spot with co-driver Claire Williams in their Hyundai i20 R5 and Kevin Proctor and co-driver Jamie Edwards were third.
Motorsport enthusiasts were treated to a spectacular day of action as contenders in the Fuchs Lubricants Motorsport UK British Historic Rally Championship, Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship and a host of other regional series battled it out for championship honours and the coveted rally win.
In the battle for honours in the National section, which hosted the British Historic championship, Joe Price and Chris Brooks sealed victory by just three seconds in their Ford Escort MKII.
Four crews recorded fastest times in the stages, but consistency when others hit trouble gave Price a slender victory over Herefordshire’s Roger Chilman and co-driver Patrick Walsh in their Ford Escort MKII who also scooped the maximum score in the Historic championship.
Nick Elliott and Dave Price were third in a FIAT 131 Abarth and Builth Wells driver Jason Pritchard, making an impressive return to the series, was fourth in a Ford Escort MKII with Phil Clarke on the notes.
For more information and results, visit www.rallynorthwales.co.uk